HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Can Larry Woodruffe, the man accused of murdering 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, get a fair trial in Harris County? The accused child killer appeared in Harris County Criminal Court today, and through his attorney, Woodruffe is asking for a change of venue.
He says there’s no way to find jurors here that wouldn’t be biased against him. Woodruffe’s attorney Lisa Andrews is blaming Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and the Houston Police Union President for that.
Show her picture or say her name and people across the country immediately recognize Jazmine Barnes as the 7-year-old shot and killed as she rode in a car with her mom and sisters. However, it isn’t the media coverage that has Jazmine’s accused killer Larry Woodruffe asking for his Capital Murder trial to be moved out of Harris County.
"The sheriff who is investigating the case spoke at the little girl’s funeral. In addition to union presidents calling my client names on social media,” says Andrews.
"If I was Larry Woodruffe’s attorney I’d be doing everything in my power to get people to stop talking about my client and the fact that he’s a dirt bag,” says Joe Gamaldi, who's the Houston Police Officers' Union President that Andrews is referring to.
"He should have been in prison and never should have been on the streets free to shoot at innocent kids,” adds Gamaldi, who says what else are you supposed to say about someone with such a violent criminal history. “Including very violent offenses like choking his significant other, and then when he was on parole for that, he got caught with a loaded firearm,” Gamaldi explains.
"They need to let the process play out and quit with the incendiary language,” adds Andrews. Woodruffe denies any involvement with Jazmine’s shooting. In fact, Andrews claims the first person caught, Eric Black Jr, made up the story of Woodruffe shooting the 7 year old and leaving the gun with him, to protect himself. “Shooters don’t give up their gun and that gun he led the cops to was at his house not my client’s,” says Andrews.
”All the evidence is going to show Larry Woodruffe is the right guy. He’ll get his time in front of the judge and jury and we’ll see how it turns out but, I’m confident he’s going to spend the rest of his life in prison,” says Gamaldi.
Andrews describes Woodruffe as quiet and respectful and says his case needs to be moved out of Harris County for him to get a fair trial.
"I hope he gets it. I hope the change of venue goes to Montgomery County," Gamaldi says. "Maybe then they’ll actually throw the book at him. Had his last case been in Montgomery County we wouldn’t be having this conversation because his butt would still be in jail where he belongs."